Summary execution by IDF in Gaza-bound flotilla incident

There’s a wealth of wealth news, including a totally up-to-date Onion article from 2001 (h/t Griffon). But for a change of pace, there’s this from the United Nations Human Rights Council’s expert panel on the Israeli relief-ship-to-Gaza incident, in which a number of passengers were killed.

Via Scott Horton, we get the panel’s report (pdf) and his assessment. First from the report:

The circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution. Furkan Doğan and İbrahim Bilgen were shot at near range while the victims were lying injured on the top deck. Cevdet Kiliçlar, Cengiz Akyüz, Cengiz Songür and Çetin Topçuoğlu were shot on the bridge deck while not participating in activities that represented a threat to any Israeli soldier.

Horton directs us especially to this regarding the death of the Turkish-American, Furkan Doğan:

[T]wo of the passengers killed on the top deck received wounds compatible with being shot at close range while lying on the ground: Furkan Doğan received a bullet in the face and İbrahim Bilgen received a fatal wound from a soft baton round (beanbag) fired at such close proximity to his head that parts such as wadding penetrated his skull and entered his brain.

He concludes:

The report concludes that the Israeli boarders did not face credible threats of imminent harm that would have warranted the use of such lethal force as was used to subdue the Mavi Marmara. “A well-trained force such as the Israeli Defense Force should have been able to successfully contain a relatively small group of passengers armed with sticks and knives[.]

While the HRC is not perfect, this report is free of bias, Horton asserts. It’s significance is in the factual discovery:

Defenders of the Netanyahu government tend to be dismissive of anything that comes out of the Human Rights Council, which is indeed a profoundly flawed institution. But this is not an expression of opinion by the council, even though it voted to adopt the report; it is rather the fruit of an independent inquiry by experts. The persons who prepared this report are eminent figures with no obvious prejudices one way or the other on the Gaza controversy. Their report is a model of clarity and masters an impressive body of evidence.

Rules of engagement, say I. When you help the Other, you become the Other. Remember, the ship was Gaza-bound.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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